• Michelle Hartfield

I’ve seen pure love that is a straight connection to God - Mr. Danny's Story of the Selma Tornados

Disaster relief work is often a good reminder that even amid chaos and storms, God can do mighty work. Salvation Army teams have been roaming rural areas affected by Thursday’s tornados around Selma, Alabama. One team stumbled across a work crew cleaning up a mess that could barely be identified as a former living place. The crew was happy to report that a “Mr. Danny” had weathered the storm in this very spot and was alive and at the hospital receiving treatment for minor injuries.

The next day, another Salvation Army team stopped in to check on Mr. Danny and provide him with a hot meal and any food and water he might need. Mr. Danny was not alone but surrounded by neighbors and volunteers helping to sort through the debris, salvage what they could, and clear what needed to be moved. Though clearly shaken by his experience, Mr. Danny was happy to share his story.

“Things have been tough. I even thought I might end my life, but this has pulled me through and changed my way of thinking. I feel like I have a purpose. So many people are coming to take care of me. A neighbor let me use their shower. People have brought their kids to cheer me up.”

Mr. Danny described his experience the night of the storm and the moment the tornado lifted his trailer with him inside and slammed it back to the ground. Miraculously, he and his dog were able to climb out and slide down the side of the cracked trailer to safety.

“I know I’ll have PTSD, but I have a new purpose. I’ve seen pure love that is a straight connection to God. It’s what I needed, and I’ll never be the same. I want to help others the way people have helped me.”

Mr. Danny paused before continuing, “In the big picture, this might have helped more than hurt me. People coming together like this has changed me.”

Emotional and Spiritual Care is a vital part of The Salvation Army’s approach to disaster response. Local Salvation Army officers have committed to checking on and praying with Mr. Danny even after the disaster teams have gone home. For Mr. Danny, and for many who have heard his story, life will never be the same, and God’s plan continues to unfurl.